Lee Ufan

(1936 ) - Artworks Wikipedia® - Lee Ufan
UFAN Lee From Line, No. 760219

Sotheby's /Nov 11, 2014
593,427.79 - 890,141.68
1,605,997.00

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Lee U-Fan

 

Artworks in Arcadja
311

Some works of Lee Ufan

Extracted between 311 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Lee Ufan - From Point

Lee Ufan - From Point

Original 1978
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Lot number: 66
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Description:
LEE UFAN (b. 1936) From Point signed and dated 'L. UFAN 78' (lower right); titled, inscribed and signed 'From Point No. 78075 Lee Ufan' (on the reverse) oil and mineral pigment on canvas 99.8 x 99.8 cm. (39 1/4 x 39 1/4 in.) Painted in 1978 Provenance Lot Description LEE UFAN (b. 1936) From Point signed and dated 'L. UFAN 78' (lower right); titled, inscribed and signed 'From Point No. 78075 Lee Ufan' (on the reverse) oil and mineral pigment on canvas 99.8 x 99.8 cm. (39 1/4 x 39 1/4 in.) Painted in 1978 LEE UFAN (b. 1936) From Point signed and dated 'L. UFAN 78' (lower right); titled, inscribed and signed 'From Point No. 78075 Lee Ufan' (on the reverse) oil and mineral pigment on canvas 99.8 x 99.8 cm. (39 1/4 x 39 1/4 in.) Painted in 1978 Provenance Private Collection, Asia View Lot Notes >
Lee Ufan - Dialogue

Lee Ufan - Dialogue

Original 2007
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Lot number: 508
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Lee Ufan (b. 1936) Dialogue signed, titled and dated 'Dialogue 2007 Lee ufan' (on the reverse); signed and dated 'L. ufan '07' (on the turning edge) oil on canvas 63 3/4 x 51 1/4 in. (161.9 x 130 cm.) Painted in 2007. Tina Kim Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
Lee Ufan - With Winds

Lee Ufan - With Winds

Original 1989
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Lot number: 286
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Description:
Lee Ufan B. 1936 WITH WINDS signed and dated 89; signed, titled and dated 1989 on the reverse oil and mineral pigment on canvas 35 3/4 by 46 in. 90.8 by 116.8 cm. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance Private Collection, Tokyo Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1991 "The phenomenon of the encounter is momentary...In discontinuous, momentary flashes of light, it liberates human beings from the one-sideness and seclusion of the ego, if only for a moment. Unlike the human will, which always desires to define things and give them meaning or a place in history, the state of the world unto itself always teaches us that things are certain and indefinite." - Lee Ufan This work is in very good condition overall. There is evidence of light wear and handling along the edges. There is faint discoloration of the white areas visible under close inspection. There are some localized spots where the pigment appears to have discolored slightly. There are scattered accretions, which fluoresce brightly under Ultraviolet light inspection, but there is no evidence of restoration. Framed. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
Lee Ufan - From Line, No. 760219

Lee Ufan - From Line, No. 760219

Original 1976
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Lot number: 61
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Description:
Lee Ufan B. 1936 FROM LINE, NO. 760219 signed and dated 76; signed and titled on the reverse mineral pigment and glue on canvas 63 3/4 x 51 1/4 in. 161.9 x 130.2 cm. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance Private Collection, Tokyo Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1994 "In a different way from athletes or Zen priests, I train my mind and body and discipline my behavior in order to obtain greater freedom and enter a more brilliant world. The orderly arrangement of the painted surface is only a superficial result. Following a certain rule may seem to be mechanical or automatic, but actually is not." Masterfully staging the renowned elegance and performative authority for which Lee Ufan is known and revered, From Line, No. 760219, executed in 1976, is entirely striking in its powerful simplicity. Tension and sensation, presence and absence, the essential binaries of Lee’’s art, are expressed in their stunning totality in the present work. The focus of Lee's practice is inextricably bound to these dualities, as equal importance is placed on the artist’’s marks and on the areas of quiet pause that emerge between them. The effect is a melodic cadence of undulating rise and fall that imbues Lee’’s paintings with a mesmerizing sensation of dynamic stillness. In simultaneous dialogue with the sensibilities of John Cage, and his insistence on the decentralization of the art experience, and the graphic restraint of calligraphy, From Line, No. 760219 visually and philosophically bridges the creative landscapes of East and West in the second half of the 20 th century. From Line, No. 760219 is a classic example of Lee's fundamental From Line works and the related From Point works first exhibited in 1973, canvases which developed the seminal imagery that consumed the artist for the next ten years. Aligned in perfect symmetry along the upper limits of the canvas, Lee’’s luminous cobalt strokes disperse into a symphony of floating diaphanous swathes as they journey down the surface of the painting, growing progressively more irregular until they seem to evaporate into absolute pictorial serenity at the bottom edge. In Lee's paintings, the legacy of calligraphic mark-making in Eastern art is stripped to its simplest incarnation, while retaining the maker's internalized qualities of its employment. In his 1975 essay titled "Using a Brush," Lee reflected on the communicative ability of brushwork beyond mark-making alone: "The scholars of East Asia have thought with the brush for centuries, using it both for writing and painting. The object before the eyes and the image in the mind are all constructed of points and lines, and expressed in rhythm with the rising and falling of the breath. Because of this, the viewer... can observe the dynamic relationship between the painting and the canvas, the condition of the painter's body, the movement of his heart, his character and the atmosphere of the age." (Jean Fischer, ed., Lee Ufan: the Art of Encounter, Cologne, 2008, p. 25) The result of Lee's philosophical and artistic thinking is an inquiry into the fundamental tenants of experience. Even Lee's description of his artistic process is rich with sensory understanding and ritual practice: "Cobalt blue powdered mineral pigment (or orange powdered mineral pigment) is dissolved in glue, or sometimes in oil, and left for a while until the color stabilizes. Before working, I calm my breathing, correct my posture, and hold my brush quietly." (the artist cited in Exh. Cat., New York, Pace Wildenstein, Lee Ufan, 2008, p. 7) Loading his brush with paint, Lee's measured downward strokes exploit the properties of the medium and reference the act of the painting's creation. By visually traveling the path of Lee's mark-making, the viewer also retraces the artist's process. Thereby, the act of looking also accentuates the temporal element of Lee's work that renders visible the moment of the brush-stroke's creation and the gradual evolution of its transformation through its expiration. Cy Twombly's mark-making comes to mind, as both artists seek to wed the act of making with the act of seeing in their most elemental and basic form. For Lee, the elegant fade of the paint into nothingness leads the artist to recommence his process, and Lee elaborates on the intricacy of this seemingly simple process. As he explains: "In a different way from athletes or Zen priests, I train my mind and body and discipline my behavior in order to obtain greater freedom and enter a more brilliant world. The orderly arrangement of the painted surface is only a superficial result. Following a certain rule may seem to be mechanical or automatic, but actually is not." (Ibid, p. 8).
Lee Ufan - From Point

Lee Ufan - From Point

Original 1979
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Gross Price
Lot number: 1052
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Description:
Lee Ufan B.1936 FROM POINT signed in English and dated 79; signed and titled in English on the reverse, framed mineral pigment and glue on canvas 97.4 by 130.5 cm.; 38⅜ by 51⅜ in. Read Condition Report Read Condition Report Register or Log-in to view condition report Saleroom Notice Provenance Acquired directly from the artist Private Asian Collection Acquired by the present owner from the above Private Japanese Collection On Time and Beyond Lee Ufan At the end of the Second World War, Abstract Expressionism was being developed in New York, crowning the city as the artistic centre of the West. At the heart of this critical movement was Jackson Pollock, who, by taking his canvas off the easel and onto the floor, removed the conventional boundaries that had limited artists for generations, thus expanding the possibilities for innovation and creation. This ground-breaking act redefined artistic creation and highlighted the importance of the process of art production. In contrast, in Asia, Lee Ufan also revolutionised the Contemporary art world, by instead emphasising the journey of creating a work of art. Placing his canvases on the floor, his whole body was engaged in the process, allowing him to enter into a far more intimate relationship with both the process and materials involved. Using traditionally Eastern materials to paint on a distinctly Western surface, Lee further expanded the opportunities for creation, shattering the traditional limitations that confined classically trained Asian artists. An inspirational figure in the Contemporary art world to this day, Lee became the fourth guest artist selected for the Contemporary Art Programme of the Palace of Versailles and has works collected by the Museum of Modern Art New York, as well as the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris. It is from this influential artist’’s oeuvre that Sotheby’’s is pleased to offer two important works of art. Originating from his two seminal painting series, From Line and From Point, the current works on offer are essential representatives of Lee’’s oeuvre. They reflect the artist’’s recurrent themes—the painting process and the inherent, unadulterated beauty of materials; the passage of time; and infinity. Lee’’s choice to use coarse canvases and transparent animal glue as binders for the mineral pigment in the works on offer shows his desire to enhance the natural characteristics of the materials. This desire hints at his leadership of Mono-ha (literally meaning, "School of Things") in the 1960s, a Japanese movement that propagated the idea of the fundamental beauty of materials and their careful arrangement, which was to merely enhance this beauty without altering its original allure. Thus, his painting style is subtle and humble, with simple lines or dabs of paint brushed across a white canvas. However, though at first glance similar, each stroke is actually unique, varying in the pressure applied and the amount of glue added. Committed to what he calls yohaku or “The Art of Emptiness”, Lee rarely touches the surface more than three times and applies the paint in a disciplined manner, allowing the paint to form a thick ridge where his brush first makes contact with the canvas before letting it fade gradually into lighter tones. From the the loose gusts of paint across the canvas of From Point (Lot 1052) , to the vertical uniform lines that fade in From Line (Lot 1053) , the works on offer in the present sale represent the artist's unrestricted Abstract motion. In Lee’’s oeuvre, the slow fading of paint highlights the importance of negative and positive space. His philosophy extends to equality between the painted and the unpainted, which share a non-hierarchical relationship in which the blank areas are just as important in contributing to the overall aesthetic of the painting as the painted areas. Similar to Lucio Fontana in their shared emphasis on this relationship, Lee differs in that he identifies the blank canvas as the negative space, whereas Fontana saw the canvas as the positive and his deep slashes the negative. Like many Korean artists of his generation, Lee emphasised the importance of the singular brushstroke and the transience of time. By repeating such strokes on the canvas, he explores the passage of time as multiple instances of fleeting moments, sometimes similar but never the same, unique in the memory it represents and preserves. Thus, the current work on offer, From Line, can be considered as a record of time, a diary of Lee’’s search for new methods to highlight the beauty of his materials and exploration with the process of painting. Another theme that is often present in Lee’’s work is infinity. As he states in his essay On Infinity, “the outside world enters deeply into my work… Infinity begins with the self but is only manifested fully when connected with something beyond the self”. From Point contains such a reference to infinity. Like his From Line series, the paint in the work on offer is applied to a gradual fade, signifying the artist’’s search for infinity, with the self represented as the dark blue pigment, slowly disappearing into the infinite void of the canvas background. The rows of small squares are reminiscent of Donald Judd’’s “stacks”, which are set against a stark white backdrop. However, while Judd’’s pieces are similar to Lee’’s in their minimalism, they differ in that Judd’’s work is concerned with technology and the future, whereas Lee’’s work is concerned with eastern philosophical notions of eternity and time. In addition, Lee’’s painting conveys a sense of movement that is lacking in Judd’’s. This is due to the fact that Lee reapplies paint onto his brush as the paint runs out, making three or four rows of brushmarks rather than one single row. The multiple lines suggest endless movement in one direction, perhaps signifying the infinite passage of time, which, like the lines, moves only in one direction. Unlike his thematic treatment of time, however, Lee often looks to both the future and his past for inspiration, with his Asian heritage and training playing a pivotal role in his art production. Born in southern Korea in 1936, Lee moved to Japan in 1956 and graduated from Nihon University with a degree in philosophy in 1961. He spent his first working years as an art critic, philosopher and artist, which exposed him to the wider Western world, giving him access to international audiences. These Japanese experiences prompted him to reject his traditional Nihonga style of painting and embrace the Abstract movement that was sweeping through the world. By using a traditionally Eastern paint on a distinctly Western material, Lee triggered a breakthrough that would serve as inspiration to many of his contemporaries. The melding of East and West perhaps signifies his desire to highlight the natural relationship between materials and practices that existed side by side but were to people totally different. This international combination of practices and materials was to define not only his work, but his generation of Korean abstract artists. In 2010, the Lee Ufan Museum, a museum completely dedicated to his work and designed by Tadao Ando, opened on the island of Naoshima, Japan. Coupled with a decoration by the Japanese government for having "contributed to the development of contemporary art in Japan” in 2009, it highlights Lee’’s pivotal role in the world of Contemporary art. With an illustrious career spanning over four decades, Lee’’s work opened new doors on the international art scene for Korean artists of his own, as well as future generations. He demonstrated the classic maxim that the journey is just as important as the destination through his eloquent lines and brushstrokes. His work simple yet complex, Lee continues to astound as the Korean at the forefront of Japanese contemporary art, an outsider on the inside, searching for a connection between the self and the world that surrounds it. Fig. 1 DONALD JUDD, Untitled , 1980 © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Fig. 2 LUCIO FONTANA, Spatial Concept: Expectations , 1967 © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome
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